‘Sahara, Life on the Edge’ was one episode in a 13 part series called ‘Wildest Africa’, made by Bristol based indie 'Off the Fence Productions' for the Discovery Channel. The episode reveals the struggle for survival of the desert’s inhabitants.
The crew filmed in Mali where they could find the last of the Sahara elephants, the key story of the episode. The production team was also very keen to film a time-lapse sequence with the World’s biggest mud building, the mosque in Djenne and to also film the Dogon tribe who live along the Bandiagra Escarpment in central Mali.
“Soon after we left Mali, the security situation deteriorated and it became yet another country added to the long list of Saharan countries veto-ed by the Foreign Office as too dangerous. We'd already had to abandon our second location, Niger for the same reason so we ended up in Tunisia. A month after we filmed there, the revolution in Tunisia kicked off the Arab Spring. Libya was torn apart by war and the world’s biggest desert was effectively closed for business” says the renowned wildlife cinematographer Richard Kirby.
Kirby continues, “The Sahara has a deadly beauty all of its own. You'd think nothing would change there from day to day, but it does. Ferocious weather comes in the form of sandstorms which are incredibly dramatic and there seem to be more stars there than anywhere else. Moreover, simple colours and graphic shapes make the Sahara one of the best locations for shooting time-lapse photography”
Running for six years, the Green Screen Wildlife Film Festival has now become the second biggest wildlife film festival in Europe after the bi-annual Wildscreen Festival in Bristol, UK. The winning film ‘Sahara, Life on the Edge’, for which Kirby was Series Director and Director of Photography, was up against competition from 160 of the World’s best wildlife documentary films submitted from the United States, South Africa, Australia and Europe. The judges said “the film took a familiar part of the world, peeled back the layers and revealed a totally unexpected face to the Sahara.”
Richard Kirby’s time-lapse stock footage library Timeframehd (www.timeframehd.com)
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